“Ol’ man river, dat ol’ man river,
He must know sumpin’, but don’t say nothin’
He just keeps rollin’,
He keeps on rollin’ along.”
“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.”
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.”
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”
“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.”
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.”
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Elizabeth Napangardi Lechleitner
Lizzie is a grandmother, mother of two, and supports families to get the best out of education. English is her fourth language, after Luritja, Warlpiri and Amatjerre. She works tirelessly for her community and is engaged in undergraduate study. She says she would never have managed without her extended family.
© 2015 Stories of Resilience: http://resilience.designingfutures.uk/elizabethnapangardilechleitner.html
“I was born and raised in Yuendumu, which is in Warlpiri country in the Tanami Desert. My mother is Western Arrente and my father is Warlpiri/Amatjerre. I went to school in Alice Springs and then lived on an out-
A difficult situation is having my first child and being a mother when I was so young. Why was it difficult? Not knowing what you are in hospital for, it was scary but the nurse was a good help and explained everything. What made me feel better was that I had a lot of help from my sister, talking to the nurses and other family members like my young cousin. My cousin was in the same age group as me and had kids before me and talked about what she went through.
I had 2 children by the time I was 16 years of age and living in Warlpiri camp, which is one of the town camps in Alice Springs. Being a young mother is a big commitment and also a big responsibility.
At that time I was going out a lot, partying and stuff like that. I was going through a rough time and was separated from my partner. My brother, Kenny Japangardi, sat me down and asked what I wanted to do with my life. I thought about it and told him I always wanted to be a police officer.
One winter night I put the kids to bed and was looking at them while they were asleep. I thought to myself, I could walk out tomorrow, go shopping in town and get hit by a car and my kids would have nothing. I am on a Centrelink benefit and there wouldn't be anything for my kids to fall back on if I wasn't there. My family was there but it is different without a mother -
What I would say to young people? Go to school and get a job and maybe travel the world before you settle down and meet other people.”
Ros Bauer, Lizzie’s tutor, commented, “Elizabeth Napangardi Lechleitner is an Indigenous woman from central Australia. Her mother is from Luritja country and her father is Warlpiri/Amatjerre. Luritja, Warlpiri and Amatjerre are Lizzie Napangardi’s three first languages and English is her fourth language. She currently works in Yuendumu supporting families engage with school; and studies through Batchelor Institute in Yuendumu, in the Northern Territory. Lizzie Napangardi is a hard working woman and has consistently held jobs in community that support families in different ways. Lizzie’s language skills enable her to code switch seamlessly and as such is a highly valuable and sought after team member. She cares for her immediate and extended family, is adored by her grandchildren and loves nothing more than ‘going bush’ to get away from it all...”
8th September 2016
International Adult Literacy Day